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L'Esprit Créateur rificing of Mallarmé's texts by subordinating them to the interest of mymologizing his personal presence and/or authorization of a general idea, he models many of the relationships that follow. Thus, Sartre, as Charles D. Minahen's essay points out, at once neglects and subverts the integrity of Mallarmé's writing by using fragments of a largely speculative biography to associate him with a set of bourgeois ideas. Thus, also, though conversely, as Michael Holland's piece shows, Blanchot reads Henri Mondor's more empirically grounded Vie de Mallarmé as evidence that nothing about Mallarmé's texts can come to be known, so diat the unbridgeable gap between his life and his writing becomes exemplary of literary silence and displacement in general. Though Holland does not discuss this, (he crucial role that mis exemplarity played in establishing Blanchot's identity as a critic in the early forties helps to explain his tactical dismissal in Le Livre à venir of Scherer's 1957 publication of some of the poet's notes for Le Livre. Blanchot's dogmatic, mymologizing silencing of Mallarmé's text was at least as effective for the last half of our century as was Valéry's for the first. A similarly oblique eclipse of Mallarmé's text by powerful readers is brought out, though less pointedly, in otiier essays dealing witii critics following in die wake of Blanchot. Yet, as Rei Terada states in her analysis of the evolution of De Man's thinking on Mallarmé, it is die poet who gives die critic the example of a specular and dramatic reading structure, one which, far from being fixed, is susceptible to change and multiplication. Thus, Mallarmé's texts do indeed seem to authorize and reflect equally well the deconstructive mimicking strategy of Derrida's treatment of "Mimique," which Geoffrey Bennington describes, and die negating force of Kristeva's theory of the symbolic. In exposing the combination of personal and intellectual reasons that lead Kristeva to model her general theory of reading on an "Ur-text" of Mallarmé, Patrick ffrench aptly coins the phrase the "anxiety of exemplarity," which usefully describes the late 20th-century's tendency to treat Mallarmé's text iconically as opposed to the early century's mythologizing of his persona. While questions of status and influence are still prominent diemes in Burhan Tufail's evaluation of Oulipo's experiments on Ü\e formal density of Mallarmé's sonnets and Kate van Orden's analysis of John Cage's and Pierre Boulez's converse interpretations of his use of chance, these essays bring back to light particular features of Mallarmé's writing as opposed to focusing on their singular exemplarity. Happily, too, in my view, die last word in this book is left to Clive Scott's meticulous analysis of particular features of Mallarmé's and Bonnefoy's prosody, specifically articulating the terms of what is, no doubt, die most significant among the relationships here examined for the evolution of French poetry. Mary Shaw Rutgers University Warren Motte. Small Worlds. Minimalism in Contemporary French Literature. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Pp. xii + 213. $45.00. Small Worlds is a big pleasure to read. For small and big reasons. First because me topic Warren Motte brings to us, modestly but brilliantly, is a refreshing departure from the mainstream -or shall I say the "trickle" since American scholarly publishers seem to have reduced the flow to a drop here and a drop there over a decade ago—of works on twentieth-century French literature, let alone the contemporary novel. I remember when American university presses were publishing two or three books a year on Claude Simon, Nadialie Sarraute or Marguerite Duras, the "contemporaries" at the time. And they did so with a certain pride, since these authors were really being scholarly "discovered" in America, while in France literary critics were still focusing on the previous generation. Since men, as we all know, we have shifted our publication efforts to Derrida, Foucault or Lyotard Readers (how many of diose, I wonder, are on die market?) and post-colonial, feminist, or cyber-technological readings of those Readers. 114 Fall 2000 Book Reviews In...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 114-115
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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